Monday, December 20, 2010

It's a....

If you can't see it, the frosting inside the cake is blue. We had family and a few friends over to "unwrap" the gender. It was a great excuse for a holiday open house and a chance to continue to celebrate with friends and family our progress in this journey. And, it's official, we really do have a defenseman in there.

We are officially halfway through the pregnancy. At 20 weeks, I have gained about 15 pounds, my stomach is now measuring 21cm and #3's heart is still beating about 150 per minute. I am finally feeling better. Most of the queasiness is gone--it only makes an appearance when I overdo it and am way too tired.

My goal for the new year is to try to do pre-natal yoga or a gym workout three times a week. I have this great trainer who is trying to make sure that my body is ready for birth and motherhood.

Meanwhile, I am just going to try and enjoy this holiday and appreciate how fortunate we feel to finally be on our path to parenthood. I know that there are still several of you out there who are still waiting for your miracle--you have all my holiday wishes that 2011 will bring you what you desire.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Inside and Outside

This was a big week for us. We had our Level 2 ultrasound where we looked at all the bits to make sure they were coming together like they are supposed to. We are happy to report that we have a healthy #3.

Looking at the ultrasound was an amazing experience. The doctor's office we were in is fairly high tech and they had a big screen for us to sit back and watch. As you'll see below, there was a lot of hand waving. Even though you know that you have this living creature inside you, it continually becomes more and more real.

I haven't really shown any "outside" pregnancy pictures because my bump hasn't been much of a bump, but tonight after a hearty Mexican dinner--it shows up a bit. I can't complain as my weight gain is about right [13 pounds so far], but it is just enough for most of my old clothes not to fit any more. When I head back to headquarters for work this week, I will be sporting almost entirely a maternity wardrobe.

Of course, we did learn this week what sex #3 is. However, we won't be announcing to the general public until Dec. 23rd. Until then, I'll be putting up a poll for you to put your guess in.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Traveling while PG

I am bummed that I haven't kept up with the daily blog for the 30 posts in 30 days, but the problem with being pregnant is that you really can't predict your energy level on any given day. We had a dog with digestive issues last week that seemed to peak between the hours of 1am and 5am. I was so tired every night. In some ways, it is a preview of what is to come in 26 weeks, but I'd like to get some sleep now!

That said, instead of dreading my trip East for business this week, I looked forward to it--and the promise of six nights of uninterrupted sleep. A lot of friends have been concerned that I continue to travel for work, but I am trying to do it with more common sense than I ever have. I am developing new rules for the road--all designed to keep stress and strain down:

1. Have food with you at all times. I keep myself stocked with energy bars, plus assorted other foods. You can't rely on the airline food carts--they often run out of food before they get to your row.

2. Have water with you at all times. We all know how important hydration is during pregnancy, and when you get on a plane, your needs almost seem to double. Again, you can't rely on the airlines. Bring a very large bottle on the plane. Today, beverage and food service didn't begin until two hours after takeoff.

3. Check your bag and ask someone to pull it off the luggage conveyor. Ask the rental car folks to lift it in the trunk. And even if you are staying at a minimum service hotel like the Hampton Inn, they will almost happily help you if you ask.

4. Arrive early to the airport, minimize your connections. Airlines don't make it easy to keep your stress levels down, but you have keep your passenger in mind.

5. Because you are drinking so much water, you should need to get up every couple hours. If not, do it anyway. Blood clots are always a potential threat and even more so during pregnancy.

6. Take some real time for yourself. Read a book. Watch a movie.

Time for me to catch some ZZZs.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Week 14 Update

I should have posted our Nuchal Fold scan last week, but I needed some time to cool down about the CA Dept. of Health.

The good news is that if you squint really hard, you can see a well-formed neck on little #3. The theory behind the Nuchal Translucency screening according to BabyCenter is that it helps "assess your baby's risk of having Down syndrome (DS) and some other chromosomal abnormalities as well as major congenital heart problems. The NT test uses ultrasound to measure the clear (translucent) space in the tissue at the back of your developing baby's neck. Babies with abnormalities tend to accumulate more fluid at the back of their neck during the first trimester, causing this clear space to be larger than average."

In addition to the scan, I had also taken a panel of blood for the early genetic screening. Unfortunately, those results will not be made available to me. Despite a line in their 24 page booklet that says that patients have a right to their records, not me. Evidently the loss of #25 after week 8 means that my genetic screening would be invalid. So, why didn't they tell me before the extracted several vials of blood and $162? You would think that in their 24 page book, they would have one page dedicated to who shouldn't take this test. Evidently, my ob's office had not experienced this either.

And to further add to it, we most likely will not be able to do any genetic screening the entire pregnancy because of the vanishing twin. We are flying blind as we move forward. The only good news is that we used twenty-three year old eggs which does decrease our likelihood of any issues.

Then, on top of all that frustration, my ob told me I didn't need another ultrasound until Week 18. After being closely monitored all these weeks, it's time to just have a normal pregnancy. That's a little disconcerting, but as long as my stomach continues to expand, I am just going to believe that #3 is doing alright.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Year of Miracles

I still owe a post on my most recent scan, but as a long time San Francisco Giants fan we interrupt this blog for a celebration!

I have been a Giants fan for 43 years [well, maybe consciously for 38 years], never to experience the thrill of a World Series Victory. Tonight I had tears in my eyes as I saw the dreams fulfilled for millions of fans. The greatest thing about this accomplishment was that it was a team effort. No superstars, just a bunch of guys who didn't stop believing in themselves--even though the experts predicted a victory for the other team.

I know that #3 is doing a high five right now inside because "he" more than anyone can appreciate what a team effort can lead to. I am pregnant right now because there was a team of folks who believed that with a little science and a little luck I could be on the path to motherhood. Getting here has been filled with wins and losses, but the victory sometimes is sweeter when it is hard fought and unexpected.

Today's post is dedicated to all those who are batting against infertility. In those immortal words of Journey, "Don't Stop Believing."

And, thank you, San Francisco Giants. Enjoy your miracle.

Grandpa to Be, Me and #3 at Game 1 of the 2010 World Series against the Texas Rangers

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Beat Goes On

Tuesday finally arrived and we got another peek at our little defenseman [#3]. I thought it still looked like a blob, but Clay believed it was an improvement over last time.

He's measuring right on schedule for 12 weeks at 52mm and the heartbeat was 156bpm.

And just for the record, here is the scan from last time.

Am I breathing easier? A little bit. I will still feel better when we are halfway down the road [isn't it always another milestone?], but the smile is back on my face and all I can do is keep having faith.

I am loving my new OB. I thought I could never replace my favorite Dr. R, but Dr. S really rocks. He was in a delivery today and could not meet with me, but he still called at 730 tonight to make sure there weren't any questions that I needed answering. He has cleared me for prenatal yoga and light workouts, so I am going to try to get back to the gym on a regular basis. I want to make sure that I am labor ready come 28 weeks from now.

This week will be my last week on vaginal suppositories--thank goodness. No one should stick that much stuff up them. I was very happy to be done with all my intramuscular shots.

Next up will be the Nuchal Fold scan on Friday the 29th.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Week in Between

Our next ultrasound isn’t until Tuesday, Oct. 19th. Until then, I have to just continue to hold the deep belief that #3 is going to be just fine.

Last week was tough. Clay thought I was fine—he said I had my game face on. But, inside I was being torn up. Even though it wasn’t my fault, I found plenty of reasons to blame myself. I found myself going back into my darker infertile hole. Just days before I had been filled with nothing but joy and light, then I was confronted with yet another loss.

I reached out to my online community who had plenty of positive stories to share. It seems that vanishing twins are for more common than people know. I just wish that the doctor had warned us specifically about the possibility.

I took a huge leap of faith on Saturday, though. I bought some maternity clothes. So, I may leave the tags on until next Tuesday, but I thought that was a pretty big step. I think someone women are lucky and are able to stay in their street clothes longer, but all I can say is that my waistbands are tight. I was also thrilled to discover that even H&M has maternity clothes.

And, in even better news, I only have two intramuscular shots left this week. My body is making enough hormones that we can stop supplementing it and just let it do its thing. This is good news for everyone in the house. Clay, who has more then earned his candy striper badge, has done in my estimation over 200 shots for this cycle alone. This is not an easy task—and not something every husband is willing to do. Who wants to take a needle that’s an inch and a half long and stick it deeply into someone’s flesh? I asked a friend to do it this weekend while Clay was gone and I am not sure if she’s finished being traumatized.

At least I’ll be slightly distracted between now and next Tuesday as I am on my first business trip as a pregnant lady, which is not always a good combination—especially when your flight gets cancelled.

Monday, October 4, 2010

And then there was one

We knew it was a possibility, but we truly were starting to believe it wouldn't happen to us. It seems there is this thing called "Vanishing Twin Syndrome" [and I've linked to an informative article on the subject].

I went to my final u/s for Oregon today, before we were to be officially released to our OB, and it didn't quite go as planned. In fact, I didn't even take Clay with me as I thought it would be innocuous. But, I thought it strange when the u/s tech decided to do an internal u/s instead of the belly. And, even my untrained eye, could tell that things weren't quite right. Maybe because one u/s picture had a heartbeat line and the other was a bit flat was a clue. Or, it was that Baby B just didn't look like the right shape.

Baby A--also known as #3 was fine. He's almost 23mm, heartbeat of 156 and measuring right about 9 weeks 3 days.

Baby B stopped growing sometime last week and no longer had a heartbeat. So, what does this all mean? The theory is that Baby A should be fine and continue to grow as babies will do. I may or may not experience any symptoms with the loss of Baby B. I think the larger issue to wrestle with is my own fears. To say that I am not freaked out would be a lie, yet I know for Baby A I just need to be zen with it. I have said all along through this process that we are meant to have the child we are meant to have.

All I can ask right now is that #3 stay safe for another 30 weeks because there are a lot of folks waiting to meet you, especially your Aunt Gigi who was at today's appointment and got to see your heartbeat. She got a little bit more than she expected, but I think she would agree it was worth it to see you on the screen.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another Milestone Passed

Yesterday we went for our first ob visit, which included another ultrasound and some unpleasantness of things being stuck where you don't want them to.

#3 [also known as Twin A] is measuring at 2cm and had a heartbeat of 166bpm. #25 [also known as Twin B] was hiding out a bit, but he finally surfaced and was measuring 1.9cm and 170bpm. Both are right where they should be, so we are breathing a little easier. Given all the pg symptoms I have, I keep repeating the mantra that feeling bad is good.

We don't know anything about gender, but I am betting on two boys--which is why I keep calling them 'he' and 'defenseman'. We won't know the gender until December. It's funny--my dad doesn't want to know. Everyone will know around him, but he believes he can remain in the dark for the additional twenty weeks.

I actually switched to a new ob. I loved my old ob, but she is 30 minutes away without traffic. With a great hospital nearby, it made sense to find someone that is just 10 minutes away. He is very understanding of previously infertile women. He is willing to see you as much as you want to feel good about your pregnancy.

It's still hard to believe that I am pregnant!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Aliens Have Taken Over

Can I just say that I am no longer in control of my body? Those two little creatures above are now ruling how I feel on a daily basis. The frustrating part is that there is no consistency to how you feel.

Most days I feel pretty good between the hours of 7am and 2pm. Today, not so much. I am starting to get the sense that queasiness is becoming a part of my daily routine. Usually, I am lucky and I don't experience it until late in the day. And, despite, having had a good night's sleep, I have just wanted to nap for the last hour since coming home from breakfast.

This is really a change for me. I have never been the type that likes to just lounge around. If the sun is shining, then I am usually getting something done--either around the house or out running an errand. I have had to take my to do list down several notches. Everybody tells me this temporary and by week 13, I'll be back to my old self. All I know is that is still six weeks away.

Until then, back to the couch for me.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

24 Hours

That's how long to our ultrasound tomorrow. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. Despite some low moments over the last couple of weeks [spotting incidents], I still feel pregnant and optimistic.

What does pregnant feel like for me? Tired and like a couch potato. I have spent more time on my sofa in the last two weeks than I think in the last two months. My normal energizer bunny mode has been seriously shut down. It is not easy for me to adjust. I still feel like there is a hundred million things I should be doing, but I just have to keep remembering that it isn't all about me any more.

My biggest struggle right now is to drink enough water and eat enough vegetables when all I really want is sweet, sugary things, especially when all my vices are gone. Clay said I looked like Zamboni the other night when the wine was poured at the table and I had that hang dog look. I know it's a small sacrifice, but it's hard to find a replacement for the flavor of wine. A lot of people drink for the buzz, I actually drink because I enjoy the taste.

Stay tuned.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hang on for the Ride

A couple of months ago I asked folks if they wanted me to keep posting and hear all the details of our conception process. They said keep doing it, and I did. Though, most of it has been on the No Expiration Date blog.

I am keeping my promise and I am sharing along the way. Last week the first part of our dream came true. Not only did I see two lines on a home pregnancy test, we saw the words "pregnant" on the digital test [so much better than the alternative 'not pregnant']. But, it isn't official until the doctor says so.

I went in for two blood tests. The first came back at 332, and the second came back at 716. What the doctor is looking for with the two tests is that the body is working and that the number doubles within 48-72 hours. The number represents how much HCG your body is producing.

The one thing I promised myself if I got pregnant was that I was going to enjoy it. I wasn't going to make myself crazy with worry. So, we've let ourselves savor the moment and now we want to share it with you, but we have a couple of conditions. First, you can be excited for us but don't show it too much yet [no cards until the second trimester]. Two, just keep up all the wonderful thoughts you've had for us in the last couple of months--I swear it really has helped us get this far.

In return, we are going to keep you posted as things happen. What this means is that you could end up sharing our joy, or hopefully not, our disappointment if things don't work out. Our next big step is an ultrasound on Sept. 13th. It is at that appointment they will look for the heartbeat.

However, I am cautiously optimistic. I ordered a pregnancy book and I am already rolling names through my head.

Finally, I had the opportunity earlier this month to tell my story at BlogHer with Yahoo Shine. It wasn't intentional but infertility has helped me reinvent myself. You can watch the interview here. The one thing I have to continue to hold true is that I am living the life I am supposed to be living.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What Direction?

I knew it had been a while since I'd written on this blog, but I didn't know that it had been well over a month. It's not surprising because I have been trying to figure out what to do with it. I admire so many others' blogs: PCOS Chick, Busted Plumbing, and After the Alter. They are engaging, visually attractive and fine examples of blogging.

I started this blog with the best of intentions. It provided a place to tell my infertility story without having to tell my story--answer questions for friends and family indirectly. Then, I got the wonderful opportunity to blog with Conceive, and I got lazy about this blog. In the last couple of weeks I have considered going dark completely. I have a new position that requires me to be a leader across the organization and across the globe. Now, it is possible to keep those two worlds separate, but the reality is that they some time cross. I have Facebook friends who I work with. I post my blog on to Facebook. How exposed do I want to be?

Perhaps, the time has come to actually have a more general blog and not one that is all about infertility. I love living in Silicon Valley--and even started a second blog for awhile about discoveries nearby. I also have been in high tech marketing for over two decades and know a thing or two. But, if there's one thing I understand about marketing--it is hard to please everyone. So, please be patient with me over the coming weeks as I try to find my way again.

There's no doubt that I love storytelling and have appreciated the support from friends and followers who have been reading along.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Color to this week's Conceive blog

On my officially published blog, we refrain from publicizing clinics, etc. Tomorrow or Thursday my next entry will be published. I referred to a couple of things that I wanted to link to here.

The clinic I am considering right now is Oregon Reproductive Medicine. Thanks to Marna at PVED. I am so happy to be talking to Dr. Hesla. He is progressive and open to treating some of the immune issues. Marna also wrote a great comment on the questionable Slate article.

On a personal side, I am really getting close to taking a full-time job and the best part I have a boss who is supportive of this effort! That is worth a million bucks.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Unexpected Sigh

As far as infertility goes, I have been doing okay. It's always easier when there is a plan on the horizon. Even though we don't have a cycle or a clinic nailed down, I know it is simply a matter of making a couple of decisions.

Yet, the other night while I was out to dinner with my mother, I had that wistful moment. She's had a tough six months with my grandmother falling down and a diminished support network. What I told her, however, is that it doesn't matter how tough things get, you have to keep the faith that it is the path you are supposed to be on. With that, I started to cry and say that is the only reason I can believe I am still childless.

I won't lie. I still don't understand why I have struggled for over a decade to have a baby. But, the only thing that helps me sleep at night is the belief that there is a reason for all this. I have walked this road to learn things about the world and myself that were previously hidden.

Sigh over with... back to believing that there is a happy ending to this journey.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Still struggling

Despite all the good advice of my friend on my post below, I had another no win week at the diet. I did make my goal of five workouts last week. I feel slightly less flabby, but the scale is not my friend.

It didn't help that I had a friend who had a really bad week and that involved some chick flicks, karaoke and wine therapy. How was I to know that in exploring Persian food, I would encounter huge mounds of rice---never before seen in such epic proportions. The excuses continue to be many.

That said, this is a new week. I am flying out for business today and I did something I never did before. I packed my lunch. I have a flat belly approved, MUFA rich lunch. The only thing that can really do me in is that Delta serves those darned Biscoff cookies. A cup of coffee and some cookies, music to my tastebuds.

I wanted to go to the gym this morning, but a longer dog walk won out. I was feeling guilty enough that I was leaving the poor pooch. Zamboni used to have the working parents lifestyle--crated every day and lived for his daily walks. Now he has the work at home lifestyle--couch during the day and plenty of tidbits while I am around.

I just have to keep trying to make the right choices. I packed my gym clothes. Even if I can squeeze in one workout, that will be better than none.

That's my pep talk to my self. Time to go squeeze into the sardine can.

Monday, March 1, 2010

No Flat Belly Here

I posted on my Conceive blog last week that it was time to hit the diet hard. You would think after publicly declaring to thousands of people my intentions, I would actually make some progress.

The first four days of the diet went well and I was strictly following the Jump Start. Then, there was the cooking class I had signed up for two months ago, "Cooking with Cabernet" and then there were the friends over for dinner and then...I just stopped making excuses. Nobody forced me to eat three white chocolate macadamia nut cookies after our hockey game.

Of course, when I stepped on the scale this morning, I was exactly the same weight when I stepped on it last Monday morning. As my friend Nancy would say, "Quel surprise" [It just sounds better in French.]

All I could do today was simply start over and forget about last week's false start. I have walked the dog, went to the gym and ate according to plan. There are no open wine bottles in the house, so I have no excuse but to stick to water tonight.

Why is dieting so hard? When I walked into Starbucks on Saturday, I had every intention of just having a plain cup of coffee, but then they had this new Dark Cherry Chocolate Mocha to try. I do believe that was the moment when my willpower failed me. I wish I hadn't tried it. It was like liquid chocolate covered I want another.

I think moderation is hard for me. It is either abstinence or indulgence--nothing in between keeps me on the straight and arrow.

Any tips from successful dieters out there?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Close Call

Or, so I thought. I was late this month. I am never late. Clockwork is how my AF runs. So, on day 32 of what is typically a 30 day cycle, I allowed myself a couple hours of what ifs. I imagined not playing hockey that night and whispering over to my parents that I needed to do some blood work the next day to confirm a positive pregnancy test.

So, I broke down and POAS'd for the first time in a couple months. As I waited for the digital reading, I willed it to show those words, "pregnant". But, the only miracle that was happening on that Sunday was the USA hockey team beating the Canadian hockey team.

And, then wouldn't you know it, two hours later AF showed up. So, my moral of the story...if you want to bring AF on, take an expensive pregnancy test.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Getting Close to Revving It Up Again

It looks like it has been a good month since my last post. I have been doing a lot of inward versus outward reflection as we ponder what our Plan B is. Many of you, I think, read this week's post at Conceive, but if you haven't, I invite you to check it out now.

I asked many of you to weigh in on how it is to ride the rollercoaster with me through this journey. Your words have been encouraging and reflective, and I greatly appreciate them.

Stay tuned as next week we will be announcing Plan B.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Retreat and then Attack

On tomorrow's Conceive blog, I will talk a bit about the importance of taking time to think at the various crossroads in your fertility journey. What I didn't do in the blog was talk about the retreat itself.

Even though I consider myself progressive in nature, the fact that I get acupuncture probably moves me a step up the "granola" scale and going to a women's retreat was another big leap up the scale. That said, I approach these things with more of a rational mind--for good or bad.

The retreat was led by Carolyn Foster,who you can learn more about her and her various services on her website. I met Carolyn over 20 years ago when I took one of her creative writing classes at West Valley College. What made Carolyn's classes different was that she had you write to gain personal insight. Following her own career transition to a professional coach, I have used her on and off over the last seven years to navigate the complexities of career, marriage and self.

This weekend's retreat was called, "Making Friends with Time: Patience, Silence and Presence". When you weren't in a learning session, you spent your time not speaking with any body while in the retreat center. In fact, all of our meals were in silence, except for some music in the background. That was one of the hardest things for me to get used to. It simply goes against my grain to be quiet during a meal. That and the twin bed....though, my husband commented that was more room than when the dog is in our king bed. I couldn't argue with that.

We had a total of five learning sessions. They were structured like this: First, Carolyn would lecture for about 30 minutes on a topic. Then, she would give you a writing exercise for another 30 minutes. After the exercise, you would break out into small groups and share your writings/thoughts. Some sessions were more interesting than others--just depends on where your thoughts are. My favorite one was on time perspectives, which was based on Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd's work in The Time Paradox. In fact, I am saving an entire blog post to talk about what I learned in that exercise.

She brings a great portion of her library, so you can borrow books that you might never pick up. I read Money by Liz Perle, which talks about women's relationships with money--a very interesting read. Plus, the center also had an art room and hiking trails, so you could do as little or as much in your spare time that you wanted. In fact, Carolyn's policy about the retreat is that you don't have show up to anything if you don't want to. She just wants to provide the space and haven for women to have some restoration time.

Now, you could argue that you could have just as much renewal going to the spa for the day, but I can guarantee that will be short-lived. When we spend some time to open our minds and expand our thoughts, we change the way we live--even if it is in the most subtlest of ways.

I detailed out the retreat a bit because I asked a few girlfriends to go with me and I think everyone was pretty hesitant about it. The one friend who was brave enough to sign up, came down with pneumonia and had to cancel. I realize this isn't for everybody, but I do think that you might be surprised at how good it can be.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Interesting Article

Not sure how I missed this one earlier this year in the New York Times. This gal talks about life without children and the complex place it is.

We are not here yet, but I wanted to have this as a resource article.

It is a new year and we are moving very slowly back on the conception trail. We have a lot of thinking and planning before any real action is going to happen.